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Historic HQ now history

Bldg. 1 gone

POSTED: January 29, 2008 5:02 a.m.
It was a small, two-story building with white siding, but a big part of Fort Stewart history came down with it.
The old 3rd Infantry Division headquarters building was torn down at 8:30 a.m. Friday.  Michael Biering, director of Public Works for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield brought down the first wall with a DPW excavator.
A parking lot for the new headquarters building will be built where the old headquarters stood.  The new building is in the final phases of construction, according to the post’s Public Affairs Office. The division staff is expected to move into the new building early summer.  Currently, the staff is in temporary offices across the installation.
Sarah Lynch, the senior 3rd ID family readiness group leader and wife of Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, division commander, took a turn behind the controls of the excavator to tear down her husband’s old office.
Most 3rd ID troops are currently deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are expected to start redeploying in a couple months, continuing through most of the rest of the year.
Tearing down the old headquarters in the shadow of the new headquarters building was a historic moment, Col. Todd Buchs, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander, said.
Local historian Weyman May remembers the construction of the headquarters and said, “That building has seen a lot of history.” He recalled that his brother Walter worked as a civilian clerk-typist in Building 1 shortly after graduating from Bradwell Institute in 1941. Walter May died last year.
The new headquarters building is a state-of-art facility that will house all the division’s staff elements, including personnel, logistics, intelligence, public affairs, and the staff judge advocate.
The original two-story headquarters building was built in 1940. There had been some talk about trying to preserve the building, possibly moving it to near the post museum, but officials said it was in too bad of shape to preserve. The headquarters was remodeled in 1980 to accommodate a growing staff.  The headquarters was home not only to the 3rd ID. It previously housed the 24th Infantry Division and the Fort Stewart garrison staff and commanding staffs of units that have occupied Fort Stewart since its founding in 1940.
In 1962, then Pres. John Kennedy used the building as homebase for a visit with troops who had assembled on Fort Stewart for a possible response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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